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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Republicans Resurgent?

The Wall Street Journal believes, as expressed in an editorial this morning, that there's a movement afoot here in the commonwealth:
Virginia Tax Rebellion

Big news from Richmond, Virginia: Republicans are starting to act like, well, Republicans again.

Last week a gang of conservative GOP members in the general assembly foiled Democratic Governor Tim Kaine's plan to raise $1.4 billion in car, gasoline and diesel taxes to pay for more roads and mass transit. This was a victory against long odds, because the renegade house members were lined up against the Governor, powerful Republicans in the state senate, elements of the business community and the state's largely pro-tax media.

Governor Kaine says he'll keep pushing his campaign, and Democrats are accusing Republicans of forcing the state into endless gridlock. Republicans respond that they also want new roads but not new taxes to pay for them when state coffers are overflowing with cash. (
link)
According to the editorial, our budget surplus has grown to $2.5 billion. In two years. They's a whole mess of roads to be built with that kind of cash.

And what's left over ... We want it back.

Move Over Michael Moore

Not Larry Sabato offers up this morning an illustrative example of the current Democrat/liberal mindset in "Follow Up on the 7th District." He reproduces a jaw-dropping email that was purportedly sent out by erstwhile candidate for the 7th Congressional District seat - one Brad Blanton.

If I may, this is too precious not to reproduce in toto:
Yes Robin, above all else be concerned about moralism concerning politeness. After all, when the current government, with the full cooperation of Eric Cantor, makes terrorists of us all, politeness certainly is the value we should cling to. There are a few things we should be ashamed of. Some things I am really ashamed of and not willing to be or do anymore: I am not a corporate murderer. I am not a killer of hundreds upon hundreds of entire species of being. I am not a slaughterer of women and children and old men and young men and girls and grandmothers and grandfathers and young American boys and girls and babies and pets and innocents of all kinds, and for many generations to come, and for 2500 years yet to come of poisoning with radioactive uranium armour piercing artillery dust spread throughout Afghanistan and Iraq and in the bloodstreams of all our returning soldiers and all the poor unfortunate citizens of those countries. I am not the tenfold increaser of mutants and stillborn monsters and crippled and damaged children from radioactivity in the bodies of their parents here and in many other elsewheres in the world. I am not a greedy, starvation maker for a few cents profit per dying child. I am not a flagrant spender of billions of dollars on instruments of death and plans and personnel to use them, and bribery and brainwashing and bullshit while these infants starve and innocents get bombed into oblivion. I am not a self righteous hypocrite preaching love and dishing out hatred and punishment and vengeance and torture from my disowned rotted to the core religiously damaged self. I am not an arrogant rip off artist bragging about my con jobs, or a smirking defensive smug dumb ass like George W. Bush or Eric Cantor. I am not a psychologically retarded killer. I am not a good American. And I am proud that I am not. America is not a good nation. America has it’s head up it’s collective ass and I intend to kick it until it pops out or die in the process. You and your two bit moralism are at the very heart of the problem. Your politeness is at the very heart of lying. You think character assassination is just as bad as murder. And even then, you are willing to do it, as you did with your gossip mongering and phony friendship with me, as did Tim Mitchell and Cliff and others. At least I can see a distinction between the two, and know that the evil sons of bitches I oppose are a class apart as thieves and murderers and terrorists that really kill and starve and steal and damage and harm real lives in the real world by the tens of thousands and for years to come, and that they make up a criminal class I could not begin to hold a candle to with regard to unfairness or immorality. Meanwhile we stringently and sincerely argue over what is polite and fair with regard to attribution of intention, etc. blah blah blah. The reason you are so disturbed about Richard defaming Tim is because it takes one to know one. Brad
Wow.

Kinda reminds you of ... well, half the Democratic Party these days, doesn't it?

Be afraid. Be very very afraid.

Hat tip to Ben Tribbett. My apologies for shamelessly stealing your stuff.

First It Was Martinsville ...

This does not bode well for the new medium:
New Vehicle for Dissent Is a Fast Track to Prison
Bloggers Held Under Egypt's Emergency Laws
By Daniel Williams, Washington Post Foreign Service


CAIRO - Just over a year ago, Alaa Seif al-Islam was one of a growing number of Egyptian bloggers who recounted their lives online, published poetry, provided Web tips, helped private aid agencies use the Internet and stayed out of politics.

But on May 25, 2005, Seif al-Islam witnessed the beating of women at a pro-democracy rally in central Cairo by supporters of the ruling National Democratic Party. He was then roughed up by police, who confiscated the laptop computer ever at his hand. (
link)
So you know, I think Martinsville is a swell place to visit.

Nobody can accuse me of not having learned my lesson. I have mouths to feed, you see, and I really don't want to be some hairy demented biker's girlfriend in the prison over in Pocahontas ...

We'd Better Learn To Habla EspaƱol

I drove into the big city the other day and bought one of those fire pits for my new patio. When I got it home, I opened the box and pulled out the instruction manual (not that one was needed; it's just a big grill of sorts after all) only to find it to be written in Spanish. Under other circumstances, I'd have thought it was an oversight.

These days, I'm not so sure:
What You Don't Know About the Immigration Bill
By Robert J. Samuelson, The Washington Post


The Senate passed legislation last week that Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) hailed as "the most far-reaching immigration reform in our history." You might think that the first question anyone would ask is how much it would actually increase or decrease legal immigration. But no. After the Senate approved the bill by 62 to 36, you could not find the answer in the news columns of The Post, the New York Times or the Wall Street Journal. Yet the estimates do exist and are fairly startling. By rough projections, the Senate bill would double the legal immigration that would occur during the next two
decades from about 20 million (under present law) to about 40 million. (
link)

40 million Mexicans coming to the neighborhood. Wouldn't that empty out the entire freeking country or are they reproducing that rapidly?

The Question Goes Unanswered

"Where's Jimmy Hoffa?"

We still don't know:
F.B.I. Calls Off Its Latest Search for Hoffa
By Micheline Maynard, The New York Times


DETROIT, May 30 — The F.B.I. called off its search on Tuesday for the remains of James R. Hoffa, the former Teamsters leader, saying it had found no trace of him on a horse farm.

The search began nearly two weeks ago on the Hidden Dreams Farm in Milford, northwest of Detroit and 17 miles from the restaurant where Mr. Hoffa had been scheduled to meet two organized crime figures when he disappeared on July 30, 1975. (
link)
The mystery continues ...

Dickenson County Is In Big Money

There must be some kind of playbook. You get elected - or appointed if you kiss the right backside - and on your first day in office, you're handed a booklet that's entitled,

"Crap You Can Propose So That Your Constituents Think You're Actually Going To Affect Change."

And on the first page:

Chapter 1: Offer up a Trail

It would seem someone over in Dickenson County has been elected - or got a hold of the right backside. The folks over there are getting themselves ... drumroll ... a trail:

Happy trails for Dickenson?
Southwest Virginia county hopes projects will lead to tourism
By Rex Bowman, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer


HAYSI - Dickenson County's rugged terrain has long discouraged manufacturers from moving in, but county leaders now plan to turn the wild landscape to their economic advantage.

Largely with federal dollars, they're building hiking and biking trails amid the mountains in hopes of turning the little corner of Appalachia into a mecca for outdoor tourists. (
link)
A tourist mecca.

Chapter 2: Refer To Your Proposal In Messianic Terms

Good grief. A path carved out of the forest is going to result in Dickenson County becoming an outdoor tourist mecca?

This playbook, by the way, is getting a real workout. Haysi's trail will be the 79th in Southwest Virginia. At some point soon we're going to have to get together and decide what we're going to do with all that soon-to-be-ours prosperity.

Chapter 3: Get Appointed To Obscure State Office Before Constituents Demand Results

A Vehrs Analysis

Jim Patrick over at ... well, Jim Patrick, has an excellent analysis of the circumstances surrounding the demise of Virginia's premier weblogger - Will Vehrs - (here)

For those of you who venture into this cruel "business," consider Jim's offering a primer on that which can result from your efforts. Call it the downside.

"The Vehrs Affair" also sheds light on the current state of affairs here in the Old Dominion.

Great work, Jim.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

When There Are No Words To Describe ...

Some people were not intended to be parents. These two don't deserve to breathe our air:
Child found dead inside hot car
News Channel 11

Knox County, Tennessee authorities are investigating the death of a three-year-old boy.


The boy, who the sheriff's office isn't identifying, was found dead inside a scorching car Sunday afternoon. The temperature inside the car was measured at 169 degrees.

The child's parents believe he wandered out of their north Knox County home sometime after he was put to bed at 2:30 am [?] yesterday. (
link)

That's tragic.

This makes it criminal:
They didn't notice him missing until about 1:45 later that afternoon.
There is, I'm sure, more to this story. But there can be no reasonable explanation. If there was ever a case for involuntary manslaughter ...

Alton Is On The Case

Alton Foley had the same reaction to a Roanoke Times editorial that I did several days ago. See Alton's take here. See "An unhealthy remedy for a nursing shortage" here.

When I read the Times piece, I thought, "there is a shortage of nurses so we should raise the salaries of nursing ... teachers"??

Why wouldn't they advocate higher wages for nurses?!

Anyway, good stuff, Alton.

And I like the new look of your weblog.

Memorial Day Reflections

Want a reminder of the reasons why America is the greatest country on earth? Check out Memorial Day, 2006 over at Cathouse Chat. Wonderful stuff.

A Flood Of Memories

I once worked with this guy's (brief) venture here in the USA:
Daewoo founder sentenced to prison term
By Bo-Mi Lim, Associated Press Writer


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A Seoul court on Tuesday sentenced the founder and former chairman of collapsed conglomerate Daewoo to 10 years in prison for a range of charges including embezzlement and accounting fraud.

The Seoul Central District Court said it also ordered Kim Woo-choong, 69, to forfeit more than 21 trillion won ($22 billion) and pay a fine of 10 million won ($10,600).

Kim was indicted in June last year on charges of multi-trillion won accounting fraud, illegal financing and diverting funds out of the country. He was also accused of embezzlement and breach of trust.
(
link)
Daewoo U.S. was a screwed up company from the git-go (before GM bought the automotive division, the parent company was in debt to the tune of $50 billion) but I had great fun working with Daewoo executives in Compton, CA who tried their best to execute the nutty directives emanating from Seoul and from Chairman Kim.

Fond memories. Disheartening story. Important lessons learned.

Watching Britain Sink Beneath The Waves

They were once such a proud people, deserving of the admiration that the western world had for them. Today they've somehow managed to become pathetic creatures, deserving only of our scorn:
BRIT PROFS SLAP ISRAEL
By Andy Soltis, The New York Post

May 30, 2006 -- Britain's largest college teachers union yesterday voted to boycott Israeli academics because of what it called "apartheid" policies toward the Palestinians.

The association yesterday called on its members to consider having no contact with Israeli academics who a [sic] did not "disassociate themselves" from their government's Palestinian policies.

"It is frightening to consider that the education of students in [Britain] is, to some extent . . . in the hands of those who actually believe that the only country . . . whose academics . . . warrant a boycott is democratic Israel," said American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris. (
link)
Frightening indeed.

I thought a number of years ago that anti-semitism was stamped out with the defeat of nazism. I was wrong. It's alive and well and flourishing in the academic community in formerly-Jolly-Old-England.

And This Is a Bad Thing?

The terrorists being held at Guantanamo are doing their part in reducing our national debt. They're saving on the federal grocery bill:
75 Now on Hunger Strike at Guantanamo
By Ben Fox, Associated Press Writer


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The number of Guantanamo Bay detainees participating in a hunger strike has ballooned from three to around 75, the U.S. military said Monday, revealing growing defiance among prisoners held for up to 4 1/2 years with no end in sight. (
link)
The heart bleeds.

I think their mamas would have done them well to have advised these badasses that there are negative consequences to taking up arms and vowing to slaughter innocent American children and grandchildren.

Hang Him

Another crooked Democrat in Congress. What to do ...
Senate Democratic Leader Accepted Free Boxing Tickets but Denies an Ethics Violation
By The Associated Press


WASHINGTON, May 29 (AP) — Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic leader, accepted free ringside tickets from the Nevada State Athletic Commission to three professional boxing matches while the agency was trying to influence him on the federal regulation of boxing.

Mr. Reid took the free seats for Las Vegas fights from 2003 to 2005 as he was pressing legislation to increase government oversight of the sport, including the creation of a federal boxing commission that Nevada's agency feared might usurp its authority. (
link)
Reid says there was nothing unethical about this because ... well, he's not Tom Delay and therefore can get away with it.

And he's right.

Monday, May 29, 2006

A Quote on This Memorial Day

"Always think of it: never speak of it." That was the stoic French injunction during the time when the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine had been lost. This resolution might serve us well at the present time, when we are in mid-conflict with a hideous foe, and when it is too soon to be thinking of memorials to a war not yet won. This Memorial Day, one might think particularly of those of our fallen who also guarded polling-places, opened schools and clinics, and excavated mass graves. They represent the highest form of the citizen, and every man and woman among them was a volunteer. This plain statement requires no further rhetoric.

Christopher Hitchens, "Memorial Day," The Wall Street Journal, May 27, 2006 (link)

Keeping Faith

In Flanders Fields

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.


We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.


Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.


Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)

A Quote on This Memorial Day II

To the loved ones of the fallen in Iraq, Ben Stein writes (in The American Spectator):
The media try to rob your husbands' and wives' and kids' lives of meaning saying this war is not about anything.

They're wrong and they say what they say because they don't see the truth. They print a story on the front page about Marines killing civilians in a town in Iraq and if they did, it was wrong. But the big media never report a MARINE throwing himself on a bomb to protect an Iraqi child, or a Marine giving his life to rid a town of murderers or a Marine or an Army man or woman or a Navy Seal or a Coast Guardsman offering up his life so that Iraqi human beings can have the same freedoms and rights we take for granted here in America.

The media are like grave robbers, robbing you of the certain knowledge that your spouses gave their lives for something deeply worthwhile: human dignity. (
link)

Human dignity. A concept they'll never be able to grasp.

The Last Best Hope Of Earth

Abraham Lincoln says it best on Memorial Day:
The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. (link)
" ... the unfinished work so nobly advanced."

Appropriate to the Union in 1863. Appropriate for us today as we strive - once again - to change the course of history.

True To Form

The New York Times suddenly finds its compassion for the Iraqi people - after all this time. It has a front page article this morning detailing one of the many instances of slaughter that have taken place in that troubled land.

Oh wait. Unlike the thousands of instances where hundreds of thousands of people have been executed - with little real interest on the part of the Times - this report details the facts behind the alleged killing of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines several months ago:

Iraqis' Accounts Link Marines to the Mass Killing of Civilians
By Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Mona Mahmoud


BAGHDAD, Iraq, May 28 — Hiba Abdullah survived the killings by American troops in Haditha last Nov. 19, but said seven others at her father-in-law's home did not. She said American troops shot and killed her husband, Rashid Abdul Hamid. They killed her father-in-law, Abdul Hamid Hassan Ali, a 77-year-old in a wheelchair, shooting him in the chest and abdomen, she said. (
link)
Should this have been reported? Yes. And I expect there'll be many, many reports to come relating to this same incident. Over and over again.

I just wish the people at the New York Times were consistent in their shock, outrage, and outpouring of sympathy toward the innocent people of Iraq. Sadly, it's only when Americans are implicated that they seem to care.

This attitude, expressed today by Times columnist Bob Herbert, is more the norm:
Consider the Living
By Bob Herbert

Before you head out to the barbecue this afternoon, look in a mirror and ask yourself if Iraq is something you would be willing to die for.
On Memorial Day.

When Good Guys Go Bad

Now I know why Democratic Congressman John Murtha ran to the TV cameras a few weeks ago to gleefully announce the fact that some Marines had been implicated in the deaths of a few dozen innocent Iraqis:
Murtha: Iraq Killings May Hurt War Effort
By Douglass K. Daniel, Associated Press Writer


WASHINGTON (AP) -- The deaths of as many as two dozen Iraqi civilians and an ensuing cover-up threaten to do more harm to U.S. efforts in Iraq than even the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, a prominent congressman and war critic says.

"This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people," Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said Sunday. "And we're set back every time something like this happens. This is worse than Abu Ghraib." (
link)
John Murtha wishing it were so.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Ban 'Expressway' Roadblocks

There are tax increases and then there are tax increases. This scheme is the worst of the bunch:

New toll proposal on U.S. Interstate 95 nearing passage
From Wikinews

A $5 toll proposal for travel on Interstate 95 is gaining momentum in North Carolina, and has passed this week in the Virginia General Assembly. Toll booths would be set up at the border between the two states to collect revenues estimated in excess of $150 million annually, money that would be split by each state to help pay for needed maintenance of the interstate highway. (link)

Great. A tax increase and a traffic backup at government roadblocks.

What will they come up with next?

When Government Fails Us

We'll shell out $2.8 trillion to our government this year and we still end up doing the work we pay it to do:
Minutemen Installing Ariz. Border Fence
By Arthur H. Rotstein, Associated Press Writer


PALOMINAS, Ariz. (AP) -- Scores of volunteers gathered at a remote ranch Saturday to help a civilian border-patrol group start building a short security fence in hopes of reducing illegal immigration from Mexico.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps plans to install a combination of barbed wire, razor wire, and in some spots, steel rail barriers along the 10-mile stretch of private land in southeastern Arizona. (link)
There's a message being sent. Neither the United States Senate nor our president have heeded it but it will continue to be sent until they do.

We will have our law obeyed on the borders. It would be a good thing if we had the government's support, but whether it participates or not, illegal immigration is going to be stopped.

By the way, if you want to do your part, you can donate to the Minuteman Project here.

When Inmates Run The Asylum

Ever notice how, except in only a few metropolitan areas, most cities in the USA have downtowns that struggle for survival while their suburbs are exploding with growth? You folks up in Washington DC ... er, Fairfax, Alexandria, Prince William, and Montgomery County, MD can relate.

Idiocy has something to do with the reason for this phenomenon:
In Chicago, New Pay Law Is Considered for Big Stores
By Gretchen Ruethling, The New York Times


CHICAGO, May 27 — Chicago may become the first city in the nation to require "big box" retailers like Wal-Mart or Home Depot to pay employees a "living wage" of at least $10 an hour plus $3 an hour in benefits.

So far, 33 of 50 City Council members have signed on to the proposed ordinance — more than enough to pass it, perhaps as soon as next month.

The bill would affect only stores that have at least 75,000 square feet and are operated by companies with at least $1 billion in annual sales, allowing smaller retailers to continue with the state minimum wage of $6.50 an hour. (
link)
Another law directed specifically at Wal-Mart, the only retailer that could potentially deliver low prices on food and clothing - and thousands of jobs - to the city's poor. Pure genius.

So how will Wal-Mart respond to such heavy-handed legislation? They'll build down the street in the suburbs - as they have in the past.

Who loses? The people of Chicago who have no job, no benefits, and no future.

Brilliant. Just brilliant.

Words Have Meaning

I often wish John Kerry would simply crawl back under his rock. But apparently that's not going to happen. Instead, he continues to fight a battle that he lost in 2004 - to the Swiftboat Veterans For Truth:
Kerry Pressing Swift Boat Case Long After Loss
By Kate Zernike, The New York Times


Three decades after the Vietnam War and nearly two years after Mr. Kerry's failed presidential bid, most Americans have probably forgotten why it ever mattered whether he went to Cambodia or that the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth accused him of making it all up, saying he was dishonest and lacked patriotism.

But among those who were on the front lines of the 2004 campaign, the battle over Mr. Kerry's wartime service continues, out of the limelight but in some ways more heatedly — because unlike then, Mr. Kerry has fully engaged in the fight. Only those on Mr. Kerry's side, however, have gathered new evidence to support their case. (
link)
What caught my attention were these weasel words:
Mr. Kerry has signed forms authorizing the Navy to release his record — something he resisted during the campaign — and hired a researcher ...
That's rather odd phraseology. The truth is Kerry released his Navy records only to a reporter at the Boston Globe - and only a small portion of all the records that the Navy has on him. (source) The reporter felt it necessary to say "Mr. Kerry has signed forms ..." rather than to simply say "Mr. Kerry has released his records to the public" because nobody outside Kerry's staff and the friendliest of press outlets has seen them.

Like the energizer bunny ...

When Worlds Collide

Coal is making a comeback in a big way - as long as the crazies don't get in the way:
2 Industry Leaders Bet on Coal but Split on Cleaner Approach
By Simon Romero, The New York Times


Coal, the nation's favorite fuel in much of the 19th century and early 20th century, could become so again in the 21st. The United States has enough to last at least two centuries at current use rates — reserves far greater than those of oil or natural gas. And for all the public interest in alternatives like wind and solar power, or ethanol from the heartland, coal will play a far bigger role.

But the conventional process for burning coal in power plants has one huge drawback: it is one of the largest manmade sources of the gases responsible for global warming.

Many scientists say that sharply reducing emissions of these gases could make more difference in slowing climate change than any other move worldwide. (
link)
So coal, like nuclear and petroleum - even wind - even your fireplace - is bad for the environment.

If we listen to these nuts, we're all doomed.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I'd Be Looking Elsewhere

Wythe County is preparing for an influx of badasses:
Wythe Co. gets ready for gang members
WDBJ7.com


Sheriff Doug King says the Wythe Co. Sheriff's Department has been training and learning about gang activity for the past three years.

Sheriff King says to his knowledge, Wythe County currently does not have gangs, but deputies do know how to spot signs of them. (
link)
I can be of some help in that regard. Uzis, MAC-10's, AK-47's, and gold neckchains are a dead-giveaway.

If I may be allowed to offer some advice though, Doug, I'd be more concerned for the safety of the county's garbage collectors.

Say What?

Headline in NRVToday:
Appleton recognized for teaching excelle (link)
Methinks the headline writer was not in Appleton's class.

How Has It Come To This?

I want to know who or what has taken over the body and mind of President Bush?
A Defiant Stance In Jefferson Probe
Justice Dept. Talked of Big Resignations If White House Agreed to Return Papers
By Dan Eggen and Peter Baker, Washington Post Staff Writers


The Justice Department signaled to the White House this week that the nation's top three law enforcement officials would resign or face firing rather than return documents seized from a Democratic congressman's office in a bribery investigation, according to administration sources familiar with the discussions.

The possibility of resignations by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales; his deputy, Paul J. McNulty; and FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III was communicated to the White House by several Justice officials in tense negotiations over the fate of the materials taken from Rep. William J. Jefferson's office, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. (
link)

Our president has gone from doing everything right to this. Aliens have taken over. That's the only thing I can figure.

As Inevitable as Winter Following Autumn

Sooner or later the United States Congress is going to get out of the way and allow gas pump prices to ease:
House Votes to Allow Drilling in Alaska Refuge
By Michael Janofsky, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, May 25 — With gasoline prices around $3 a gallon as the Memorial Day weekend approaches, the House again voted Thursday to approve drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (
link)
Before you get too excited though:
It was at least the 12th time that the House had voted to allow energy exploration in a small piece of the preserve's 19 million acres along the northern coastal plain of Alaska.
The Senate, what with its large contingent of liberal Republicans, can be counted on to block the drilling legislation again. But sooner or later one of two things is going to happen. Either those in the Senate who feign outrage over high gas prices wise up and do something about them or their constituents get fed up with them and bounce them.

I'm good with the latter.

Sensenbrenner Talks Sense

"The president is not where the American people are at."

"The Senate is not where the American people are at."

These statements of truth came from Representative James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin in a news conference yesterday in which he rejected the United States Senate's attempt to foist an egregious immigration bill that grants illegal aliens rights that you and I don't have down the throats of the American people:
House Negotiator Calls Senate Immigration Bill 'Amnesty' and Rejects It
By Rachel L. Swarns, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, May 26 — The leading House negotiator on immigration denounced on Friday the bipartisan legislation that passed the Senate this week, saying House Republicans would never support a bill that gives illegal immigrants a chance at American citizenship.

The negotiator, Representative F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., Republican of Wisconsin and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said he could envision legislation that included a guest-worker program. But he insisted that strong enforcement measures would have to be in place first, including an employment-verification system and tough sanctions on employers who hired illegal immigrants.

Mr. Sensenbrenner said he would continue to reject President Bush's call for a compromise because he believed that the president, who supports a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, remained out of touch with the public. (
link)
Good for him. The status quo is better than the abomination that Ted Kennedy and John McCain dreamt up.

Don't Tell John McCain

This is as it should be:
First Amendment Applies to Internet, Appeals Court Rules
By Laurie J. Flynn, The New York Times


SAN FRANCISCO, May 26 — A California appeals court ruled Friday that online reporters are protected by the same confidentiality laws that protect traditional journalists, striking a blow to efforts by Apple Computer to identify people who leaked confidential company data. (
link)
In normal times, it wouldn't be necessary to even litigate this. But in the age of McCain, nothing is sacred.

Today's Wisdom

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it amazing that our government can track a cow born in Canada almost three years ago, right to the stall where she sleeps in the state of Washington and they tracked her calves to their stalls? But they are unable to locate 11 million illegal aliens wandering around our country.

Maybe we should give them all a cow.

Author Unknown

Friday, May 26, 2006

Johnny On The Spot

Hello? Anyone home?

Kaine says official-English law unneeded, but it's already there
By Tyler Whitley, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writer

Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said yesterday that Virginia does not need to make English the state's official language.

He was not aware that Virginia already has such a law, passed by the General Assembly in 1996. (
link)

I'm sure the Kaine team will issue a "clarification," explaining that the Governor intended for everyone to understand that the law wasn't needed ... because he knew full well that everyone knew that it was already the law.

Sheesh.

Problem Solved

So you're concerned about those 11,000,000 illegal aliens roaming the streets of the USA? Fret no longer. The Senate has solved the problem for you. If the aged members of that august body have their way (a big if),the illegals are to be decreed legal:
Senate OKs citizenship for illegal aliens
By Charles Hurt, The Washington Times


The Senate yesterday easily approved an immigration bill that allows 10 million illegal aliens to become citizens, doubles the flow of legal immigration each year and will cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $54 billion over the next 10 years. (
link)
I especially appreciate that $54 billion slap in the face.

For what it's worth, you can view the roll call vote on the bill here.

John Warner (remember him?) voted in favor.
George Allen opposed.

Some Things Never Change

I never watch NBC's Today Show in the morning. This is due in part to the fact that I am more often than not working. But I also made the decision many years ago to quit watching the show in order to maintain my sanity. Watching Perky Katie Couric and Bryant Gumbel spew their liberal idiocy each morning while I was munching my Wheaties was just too much to deal with.

So I'm in a hotel in Pennsylvania yesterday morning and stopped in the dining room on my way out to eat a lavish breakfast consisting of a bagel and apple juice and noticed the Today Show was on on the TV across the room. They were doing some kind of tribute to Katie, which seemed a bit odd.

But then they cut to the news and the newsreader started with something close to this:
In the news, Vice President Dick Cheney may be called to testify in the Scooter Libby case.
The news.

Some things never change.

I shook my head. Stood up. Walked out into the real world.

Your Gov't At Work

For this we pay dearly in taxes:
Veteran Data Was Removed Routinely, Official Says
By David Stout, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, May 25 — Officials of the Veterans Affairs Department told angry lawmakers on Thursday that an agency employee had been taking home sensitive data for three years before some of the material was stolen from his residence, compromising the records of 26.5 million veterans.

"He said that he routinely took such data home to work on it, and had been doing so since 2003," George J. Opfer, the department's inspector general, told senators, some of whom expressed amazement at how the department has handled the theft.

... the data included Social Security numbers and birth dates as well as names ... (
link)
Out of control ...

Thursday, May 25, 2006

It Has Arrived

A good idea may finally get its due:
Solution to Greenhouse Gases Is New Nuclear Plants, Bush Says
By Jim Rutenberg, The New York Times


LIMERICK, Pa., May 24 — With Democrats seizing the national stage on gasoline prices and the environment, President Bush came here Wednesday to take it back, calling for the construction of more nuclear power plants to help reduce the greenhouse gases believed to contribute to global warming.

Speaking in front of this hamlet's twin nuclear cooling towers on Wednesday, Mr. Bush promoted the 2005 energy bill he signed into law, which provides tax incentives, loan guarantees and federal risk insurance for companies building nuclear plants. Before the law, he said, only 2 companies were considering building plants, but now 16 are.

"For the sake of economic security and national security," he said, "the United States of America must aggressively move forward with the construction of nuclear power plants." (
link)
I've said for years that environmentalism is a luxury we can dabble in as long as energy is abundant and cheap. Al Gore, as the classic example, can afford to decry Big Oil and SUV's as he travels from speaking engagement to cocktail party in his private fuel-sucking jet, and Americans will tolerate him. Some even applaud his ... earnestness.

When that is no longer the case though, when resources become scarce, the "save the environment" crowd can be expected to quickly revert to "save my ass" mode.

We have arrived at that point. High time.

We Are Fools

I've never been able to understand how it is that Democrats are so adept at deflecting blame and Republicans can always be counted on (to be stupid and ...) to go along.

In the years that Bill Clinton was accused of having lied to a Grand Jury, of having swapped tech secrets to the Chinese for campaign donations, of having sex with an employee (is oral sex sex? ...) in the Oval Office while talking to a Congressman on the phone about sending troops to war, of selling the Lincoln bedroom at the White House for contributions, of having sexually harrassed female employees, of having sexually assaulted a female visitor to the White House, of Whitewater criminality, of having raped a woman - who at the time was the most hated man in America?

Newt Gingrich.

Democrats both in Washington and in the mainstream media were able to do that. And by the time Gingrich resigned in disgrace, a majority of Republicans were saying good riddance.

When Clinton left office (with all the White House furniture), instead of being led off in handcuffs, he walked out with his job approval rating sky-high.

Democrats are that good at this.

I recall the time too that Senate staffers forwarded an email to Senator Dick Durbin, one of the slimiest of politicians on Capitol Hill (his unctuousness arguably surpassed only by Charles Schumer), in which an hispanic nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Miguel Estrada, was described as being "especially dangerous" in part because "he is Latino."

America immediately became outraged - not at Durbin or at the committee staffers who revealed such racist tendencies. No, everyone - including Republican Orrin Hatch - was outraged (to the point of having an investigation launched) by the fact that Durbin's memo was pilfered from a public hard drive by a person or persons unknown and secreted to the Wall Street Journal. The bastard(s). Durbin et al got off scotfree.

Which brings us to William Jefferson. The FBI has this crook (a Democratic member of the House) on tape receiving a $100,000 bribe and stuffing it in his briefcase. Caught red-handed. Outrageous, right? Well, sort of. Democrats are outraged by the fact that the FBI included in its investigation a search of Jefferson's Congressional office.

And the Republicans, dopes that they are, can be counted on to fall for the ploy:
House Leaders Demand Return of Seized Files
By Carl Hulse, The New York Times


WASHINGTON, May 24 — The constitutional clash pitting Congress against the executive branch escalated Wednesday as the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House demanded the immediate return of materials seized by federal agents when they searched the office of a House member who is under investigation in a corruption case.

The demand, by Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Republican of Illinois, and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, underscored the degree of the anger generated among members of both parties on Capitol Hill by the search on Saturday night at the office of Representative William J. Jefferson, Democrat of Louisiana, who has been accused of accepting bribes.

"The Justice Department was wrong to seize records from Congressman Jefferson's office in violation of the constitutional principle of separation of powers, the speech or debate clause of the Constitution, and the practice of the last 219 years," Mr. Hastert and Ms. Pelosi said in a rare joint statement. (
link)
The art of deflection. I expect it from the Times. And from Nancy Pelosi and her ilk. Unfortunately, I've come to expect fools like Dennis Hastert to get sucked into it as well. Every time.

Before this is over, the media and the Democrats will have Hastert resign in disgrace, the head of the FBI imprisoned, and William Jefferson will be nominated to be Hillary's running mate in 2008.

And America will demand to know why Republicans are such evil beings.

Well, we're not evil. We're just fools. We're such fools.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

On The Mortality Of Will Vehrs

I was reading all the eulogies devoted to Will Vehrs' departure this evening and tears welled up in my eyes. I began to search for the appropriate words for the occasion and decided upon -
To Will: It is a far, far better place to which you set forth ... back to work.
To all others: Blogging is, by its nature, a temporary gig. I doubt that America's best-read bloggers with the highest traffic counts make any real income from it (unless you beg for donations to the tip jar like Andrew Sullivan). I've seen over the last ten years many come and many go. Some just burn out. Others lose interest. Still others are quickly shamed into oblivion. Some find that they really had nothing to say.

And then there are those whose weblog destiny is cut short by employment issues. Those are the unfortunate ones and there are, unfortunately, too many of them.

So Will is gone. He says for good. We'll surely miss him. But 200 new weblogs came online today to take his place ... and mine - when the time comes.

Such is the nature of this medium. Unlike those who write for the ages, we write for this day with no great expectations for tomorrow. And paychecks certainly don't confound things.

Our lot is much like that which Keats came to realize about his own place in the universe as he approached his last days. He took the time to write his own epitaph:

Here lies one whose name was writ in water
The world of the weblog. Bye, Will. We enjoyed you.

Them That Got It And Them That Don't

It came down to this. On Monday I called for the Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates to stand firm in their opposition to our Governor's tax increase proposal (see On That Whole Compromise Thing).

Yesterday the Roanoke Times editorial page called for the Virginia Senate to stand firm behind that same massive tax increase (see "Senators must not cave in budget fight").

We now see who got da juice:
Senate OKs budget bill, minus funds for roads
By Michael Sluss, The Roanoke Times

RICHMOND -- The Virginia Senate abandoned efforts to incorporate transportation-related tax increases into a new state budget Tuesday, a move that could help pave the way for a compromise with the House of Delegates on a spending plan for the next two years. (
link)
I am proud beyond words of the House Republicans - particularly that rookie from Wytheville - who stood up to the mighty host that was arrayed against them and kicked their collective tax-raising, big government, constituent-abusing, priority-ignoring asses.

In all seriousness - Good job. The people of Virginia thank you for being there for us.

In other words ...

The Times-Dispatch says it like it is:

Senate yields on new road funding
House anti-tax stance prevails; budget talks aim to avert shutdown
BY Jeff E. Schapiro and Pamela Stall Smith, Richmond Times-Dispatch Staff Writers

The Virginia Senate yesterday surrendered on new taxes for transportation, likely averting a government shutdown but reducing chances of a long-term fix for roads and transit.

Senators endorsed their downsized plan 24-8 after virtually no debate. Most of the dissenters were Northern Virginia Democrats feeling betrayed over the lack of new money to ease congestion in the region.

The Senate's reversal is a setback for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine. The Democrat had vowed a remedy for transportation in his freshman year as governor, pushing in league with the Senate higher taxes. (
link)

The Governor, in response to the crushing defeat said ... well, it doesn't really matter what he said anymore. He's toast.

How Will We Survive?

I wanted to pick up on the reaction from those who see government as our be-all/end-all to the defeat of the insidious Senate tax increase proposal. Where better to turn for resulting hysteria than Raising Kaine:

Virginia Budget Debacle; Thanks House Republicans!
by Lowell

Yesterday, after a 133-day faceoff, the Virginia Senate blinked first. Unfortunately, for now, the right-wing Republican-controlled House of Delegates got its wish: there will be no new taxes. Unfortunately for the rest of us, there will be no mass transit or roads either. [my emphasis] (link)

Really? Gosh. If I had known that there will be no roads or mass transit, I'd have been more inclined to favor the tax increase.

Lowell goes on to list the predictable quotes in the mainstream press that essentially complete the pattern: WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE!

Look. This "transportation crisis" was a political stunt from the beginning. There'll be a few more frightened and angry reactions from those who were led to believe it was a reality but the hysteria will die down over the next several days and the General Assembly will budget for transportation improvements as it has for the last 200 years.

And all that ongoing road and bridge construction in Northern Virginia will continue - as normal.

More On Crazy Al's Bad Timing

Al Gore's new global warming horror flick, "An Inconvenient Truth" opens today during unseasonably cold weather:

Big Chill Hits Gore Global Warming Movie
Newsmax.com

Monday, May 22, 2006 11:37 a.m. EDT

In just two days, former Vice President Al Gore's blockbuster global warming movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," hits theaters nationwide. But the weather doesn't seem to be cooperating.

Instead of the sweltering late-May temperatures that might give the impression there was something to Gore's claims that the planet is melting, New Yorkers turned up their thermostats Sunday night to fend off an unusual pre-Memorial Day chill.

In the lower Hudson Valley, frost warnings were issued, as the overnight temperature dipped to a chilly 38 degrees Fahrenheit.

The rest of the country was enjoying unseasonably cool weather as well, with Dallas and Atlanta - where the temperature often tops 90 degrees by late-May - coming in 10 degrees below seasonal norms.

Chicago's temperature had climbed to just 55 degrees by mid-morning. (
link)

Al Gore gets no respect. Not even from Mother Nature.

Hat tip to James Taranto

I'm Holding My Breath ...

They're serious this time:
House, Senate to tackle pork
By Amy Fagan, The Washington Times


House and Senate leaders take a major spending test this week as they try to complete a hurricane and war emergency-funding bill, but face tough negotiations over billions of dollars in extra, unrelated items that the Senate added to its version of the bill. (
link)
I guarantee you that railroad project (appropriately dubbed "The Railroad To Nowhere") stays in the bill. Some things - like fiscal discipline, or the lack thereof - never change.

The Pot And That Black Kettle

Here's an original idea: Hillary Clinton wants to tax the profits of Big Oil:
Hillary urges tax on oil profits
By Eric Pfeiffer, The Washington Times


Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday called for a two-year tax on oil company profits to help amass $50 billion for the creation of an energy research fund, saying dependence on foreign oil weakens national security.

"We need to reform our energy taxes so that large oil companies who reap huge benefits from unexpectedly high energy prices over the next two years will be required to pay a portion of their profits into the strategic energy fund," the New York Democrat said while outlining her energy plan at the National Press Club. (
link)
I have an idea that goes along with hers. How about we put a tax on huge profits reaped on the sale of books* that the author didn't write.**

* $8 million advance for "Living History."

** Hillary made far more profit off each book sold than Exxon Mobil makes off of a gallon of gas. We can call it a Tax On Unearned Benefits.

It Didn't Work Then. It Won't Work Now.

Former Attorney General Ed Meese explains our reasons for being skeptical with regard to all the talk about guest worker programs and paths to citizenship for illegal aliens:
An Amnesty by Any Other Name ...
By Edwin Meese III, Writing in The New York Times


Two decades ago, while serving as attorney general under President Ronald Reagan, I was in the thick of things as Congress debated the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. The situation today bears uncanny similarities to what we went through then.

Like the amnesty bill of 1986, the current Senate proposal would place those who have resided illegally in the United States on a path to citizenship, provided they meet a similar set of conditions and pay a fine and back taxes. The illegal immigrant does not go to the back of the line but gets immediate legalized status, while law-abiding applicants wait in their home countries for years to even get here. And that's the line that counts. In the end, slight differences in process do not change the overriding fact that the 1986 law and today's bill are both amnesties.

There is a practical problem as well: the 1986 act did not solve our illegal immigration problem. From the start, there was widespread document fraud by applicants. Unsurprisingly, the number of people applying for amnesty far exceeded projections. And there proved to be a failure of political will in enforcing new laws against employers.

After a six-month slowdown that followed passage of the legislation, illegal immigration returned to normal levels and continued unabated. (
link)
We are going to do again what didn't work then.

If we want to end this, we need to start by securing the border. Then we can deal with the illegals who are here.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

What A Joke

Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein has come up with a swell idea. She thinks we should pull all 11,000,000 illegal aliens - who break our laws every day they are in country - into the sheriff's office and ask them when they arrived. And they're to answer truthfully - or else:
Sen. Feinstein plan expands illegals pool
By Charles Hurt, The Washington Times


A Senate Democrat yesterday introduced a proposal to expand the pool of illegal aliens eligible for citizenship to include anyone who sneaked across the border before Jan. 1. (
link)
What will be said about the idiot that claims he or she came across the border on December 31?

This goes along with the Senate's other brilliant idea that illegals should be paid medicare and social security benefits.

These people are hopeless. It's time we considered putting an age limit on United States Senators.

Crazy Al's Bad Timing

Do you recall the occasion a few years ago when Al Gore scheduled a major policy speech in New York on the subject of global warming on what turned out to be one of the coldest days in a century? Poor Al's timing was ... off, shall we say?

Well, Crazy Al is making the rounds in Hollywood and other centers of progressive thought these days touting his new movie, "An Inconvenient Truth." It is purported to be a documentary about ... you guessed it.

Tough break for Al though. Scientists are finding it impossible to support his wild claims - or even those that aren't completely hysterical:
Don't Be Very Worried
The truth about "global warming" is much less dire than Al Gore wants you to think.
By Pete Du Pont, The Wall Street Journal

After the first Earth Day the New York Times predicted "intolerable deterioration and possible extinction" for the human race as the result of pollution. Harvard biologist George Wald predicted that unless we took immediate action "civilization will end within 15 to 30 years," and environmental doomsayer Paul Ehrlich predicted that four billion people--including 65 million American--would perish from famine in the 1980s.

So what is the reality about global warming and its impact on the world? A new study released this week by the National Center for Policy Analysis, "Climate Science: Climate Change and Its impacts" (
www.ncpa.org/pub/st/st285) looks at a wide variety of climate matters, from global warming and hurricanes to rain and drought, sea levels, arctic temperatures and solar radiation. It concludes that "the science does not support claims of drastic increases in global temperatures over the 21rst century, nor does it support claims of human influence on weather events and other secondary effects of climate change." (link)

Of course Crazy Al knows better. Damn the statistics; it's the passion that matters. The globe is warming. Just ask Barbra Streisand.

On Those Open-Minded Liberals

From one of our liberal east coast institutions of higher learning:
Rice's Appearance Draws Protests in Boston
By Katie Zezima, The New York Times


NEWTON, Mass., May 22 — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice delivered the commencement address on Monday at Boston College to an audience that included dozens of students and professors who stood, turned their backs and held up signs to protest the war in Iraq.

Ms. Rice told students of what she believed to be the five responsibilities of educated people: find your passion, be committed to reason, reject false pride, be optimistic and reject prejudices. She acknowledged the protests, receiving applause after urging graduates to consider perspectives different from their own. (
link)
"... urging graduates to consider perspectives different from their own." That's funny. There ARE no perspectives other than their own. They're the enlightened, the open-minded. The leaders of tomorrow.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Let's Get Real When It Comes To Tourism

Great news regarding the tourist industry here in the commonwealth of Virginia:
Tourism Spending Up 9.6 Percent In Va.
The Associated Press

Richmond (AP) - Tourism spending in Virginia continues to grow at a brisk pace.

Governor Tim Kaine's office says tourists spent $16.5 billion in 2005, up a record 9.6 percent over spending in 2004.

Preliminary data from the Virginia Tourism Corporation also shows that more than 200,000 Virginians are directly employed in the tourism industry, with a total payroll in 2005 of more than four billion dollars. (
link)
I'm inclined to believe that, when it comes to that 200,000 figure, there was some serious permutation and extrapolation going on. After all, is a person slinging hamburgers at a McDonald's along I-81 near Winchester there because tourists are driving up to the window to load up on their morning coffee, or because New Yorkers are stopping by (passers-through) on their way to Dollywood, or because commuters are getting their morning fix before joining the migration to their places of employment over in DC?

Anyway, taking the figures at face value, what do they mean?

One cannot argue with the fact that Virginia is a powerhouse of a tourist mecca. We have Yorktown. Williamsburg. Fredericksburg / Spotsylvania / Cold Harbor / Malvern Hill / Seven Pines / Manassas / Cedar Creek / Petersburg / Appomattox Court House / Winchester / Balls's Bluff / Drewry's Bluff / Lee's tomb / Stonewall Jackson's grave / Monument Avenue / Hollywood Cemetery. The old state Capitol. Arlington National Cemetery. Quantico. The Pentagon. Antebellum plantations. VMI. Newport News. The battleship Wisconsin. The George C Marshall Museum. The Marine Corps War Memorial. The Museum of American Presidents. The National D-Day Memorial. Natural Bridge. UVA. The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. Not to mention the finest beaches on the east coast.

The downside is this: If you were going to join the tourist ranks and take a week to visit Virginia, would you plan a stop at one of the above or would you drive to Southwest Virginia and walk an abandoned railroad track? Or drive the Crooked Road? Or travel past dozens of parks - local, state, and national - to cook wienies on the grill at Hungry Mother Park?

Folks, we cannot compete on this playing field. Don't let any politician tell you we can. Our bike paths and hiking trails will never bring in enough revenue to make an appreciable difference to our local economies. Ever. Nor will the efforts ongoing to have us all learn to strum the banjo and sing for the passers-by at local gas stations/craft shops/bait & tackle stores.

Will Vehrs, over at Commonwealth Conservative, fashions the dilemma in eloquent terms:
I’m an enthusiastic booster of trails. If there’s an old rail bed with no other use, make it a trail. But in a society where finding the closest parking spot to the door of the local fitness center is a triumph, trail tourism is the tiniest of niche markets. Trails are a wonderful local amenity that contribute to an area’s “quality of life.” Disney World they aren’t.

Just do a Google search on “trail vacations in Virginia” and see if you can find any program to attract hikers from outside Virginia to the network of beautiful and diverse trails this state offers. I have yet to see any business development assistance program specifically targeting entrepreneurial opportunities that might be associated with trails. (link)
"... tiniest of niche markets."

Some will argue that recent history is proving that Southwest Virginia cannot compete in the manufacturing arena either, what with all the textiles and furniture plant closings we've endured. And then there's coal... Well, they would be wrong. Manufacturing thrives in the USA like never before. Just not here. Because we don't demand that our leaders bring about changes that allow for our manufacturers to run at a profit.

I had the opportunity to tour one of my employer's manufacturing facilities up north recently. We were just completing a $14 million upgrade to the plant. The German crew that had been brought in to make the changes were just completing their work. The plant is operating with three shifts round the clock. The facility is a sight to behold. In the industry, the plant is considered the finest of its kind on earth. And we make money. In manufacturing. In the USA. In 2006.

So, it can be done. It's even been done right here in Southwest Virginia. It's still being done by a dwindling number of companies.

But they need our help. The kind of help that won't come about as long as we're focused on hiking trails and paths that lead nowhere.